Field Preparation: Weed Barrier Fabric

Hi Lovelies,

Hope everyone is doing quite well. I’ve tried to write this post a few times and I’ve managed to get myself distracted by a bunch of documentaries on Netflix. Now, I know I need to focus. Can I just mention, once again, how much I hate pulling weeds? Can you believe that some people actually like doing that? Are you kidding me?  Since the weather has warmed a little, one of my main goals for the week was to prepare the weed barrier fabric so that it will be ready to go out as soon as the ground finally dries out a little and can be plowed.  Learning to use plastic mulch was literally one of the first things that I wanted to learn when I first began my vegetable garden about four years ago.  I would scan the internet for the longest time trying to figure out which method was the best, what was the easiest way to use it and everything else. I’ve made plenty of mistakes, too. I tried “using newspapers” as mulch. That worked – until 8″ of rain came through and washed away hours worth of work. Great. One year, I used a plastic mulch that wasn’t not permeable for air and water to penetrate. It was a disaster, as I didn’t even have enough experience to think about laying drip irrigation or tape down. The year that I grew over 300 heirloom tomatoes was the first time that I figured out what I was doing thanks to the help of a gardening blog which has long since been deleted 🙁 I figure there’s no harm in sharing my experience here, because honestly, gardening should be an enjoyable experience! As always, I’ll go ahead and put a disclaimer here: never attempt any of the activities on this blog without the supervision of a professional! Better safe than sorry! 🙂 🙂

I ordered my DeWitt fabric about a month ago. Each roll weighed about 85 pounds, so when I found a supplier that offered free shipping, I jumped at the chance to order. The first step in getting ready was determine which plant spacing would ultimately be best. I decided on 9″x9″, as it would be most appropriate for the seeds I intended on sowing. Creation of a template is an important step that I personally don’t think should be skipped.  Since my roll of fabric was 6′ long, I decided that I wanted 4′ of plants in the middle and 1′ of “walking path” on each side that would eventually connect with each other when the mulch is laid down. I only had a very thin piece of cardboard, therefore, I had to be more conscious of the way in which I flipped (not slid) my template so that the spacing would be correct. After I’d finally placed and cut out my holes in the cardboard, I covered the holes with aluminum foil, so as not to burn my template or actually catch it on fire. Even as an adult, I still feel as if I need “adult supervision” when doing these kinds of things. Eventually, I used a small propane torch to melt the plastic. By doing this, not only do you get consistent results, but
the melted finish around the edges of the holes are quite nice and ensure that the barrier does not begin to unravel or deteriorate when finally put into place.
Overall, I was outside burning holes in plastic for hours – and I’m still no where close to even being finished. However, I know that the time I’m investing now will reward me generously in the long run. I can’t believe that it’s almost time to plant and direct seed my summer annuals. Here’s hoping that I can stay ahead of the game! Hope everyone has a really wonderful day!

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